First National Aspin Day hopes to spotlight Pinoy dogs

August 18, 2021 - 9:49 PM
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Screengrab from the video message of PAWS executive director Anna Cabrera (Facebook/PAWS)

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society brought the spotlight on native dogs or aspins (asong pinoy) in celebration of the first National Aspin Day on August 18.

PAWS Executive Director Anna Cabrera expressed this in a video message released on Facebook.

“Today August 18 is the very first National Aspin Day where the spotlight is on the asong pinoy, intelligent, loving and while often overlooked and often considered as the underdog, has so much love to give,” Cabrera said.

“Aspins, their time to shine has come as the number one choice for families to love and to have as family pets. Let’s all love our aspins,” she added.

Cabrera also shared that the reason PAWS organized the event is because of the dogs’ bad reputation.

Back then, the short-haired native dogs were called “askals” or “asong kalye.” This translates to street or stray dogs in English.

Cabrera presented a slide in the video comparing the treatment of purebreds with that of native dogs that are often assigned as guard dogs or “bantays.”

Purebred dogs:

  1. Always eats dog food
  2. Stays inside the house
  3. Gets regular grooming
  4. Medical needs are met

Native dogs:

  1. Eats leftover foods
  2. Chained at the gates
  3. Often neglected
  4. Abandoned when sick

PAWS found that it must be the name “asong kalye” that the public has a negative impression of it.

“For starters, anything associated with the ‘street’ or ‘kalye’ is viewed negatively,” Cabrera said.

When PAWS put up adoptions for stray dogs in 2001, Cabrera recalled how people scoffed at the idea.

“Majority laughed at the idea that anyone would be willing to pay an adoption fee to adopt an askal,” she said.

‘Aspin’ not askal

PAWS then coined the term “aspin” to the short-haired dogs in 2007 in hopes to uplift their reputation.

It worked. Cabrera shared that PAWS had adopted at least 10,000 street dogs in the past 20 years since the organization was put up.

“More aspins are getting the treatment that they rightly deserved,” she said.

As part of the celebration, PAWS also launched an Aspin-themed “meme competition.”

In the mechanics posted on August 17, owners are invited to create funny memes of their aspins and post them using the hashtag #PAWSAspinMeme2021.

The winners will be announced in a virtual program to be streamed this month.

As an example, PAWS also shared a meme referencing Karen Davila’s popular reaction to Lyca Gairanod in a video interview.

“Our aspins have given us steadfast emotional support throughout these difficult times. With their quirkiness and innocence, they provide us with much-needed levity which is why they are our home quarantine heroes,” the group said.